Definitive Studies

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by Patriot, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Patriot

    Patriot New Member

    Looking to add some Rev. War battlefield studies to my library. Presently I only have the following:

    The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution by Barnet Schecter

    The Campaign that Won America: The Story of Yorktown by Burke Davis

    Recommendations? Looking for what you would call a definitive study of any battle/campaign.

    Also looking for a good bio on Banastre Tarelton.


    Mike Peters
  2. The General

    The General New Member


    Regarding Tarleton, I just ordered two of them a couple of days ago. When they arrive, I will let you know what I think of them.

    John Luzader's book on Saratoga, published by Savas-Beatie, is one of those definitive works you're looking for.

  3. Baltis Getzendanner

    Baltis Getzendanner New Member

    I liked the Green Dragoon much better than Brutal Virtue. Both are biographies of Tarleton. I also suffered from disinterest in the parts following the Revolution.
  4. CrescentCorps

    CrescentCorps New Member


    Being an abject amateur, I am always reluctant to use the word definitive, but the following are detailed campaign and battle studies I have in my library which I highly recommend:

    Decisive Day: The Battle for Bunker Hill by Richard M. Ketchum - Believe this is still the definitive work on the siege of Boston and battle of Bunker Hill.

    Victory on Sullivan's Island: The British Cape Fear/Charles Town Expedition of 1776 by David Lee Russell - An extremely detailed account of the first attack on Charleston.

    Benedict Arnold's Navy by James L. Nelson - The title is a little misleading because, in addition to devoting about 175 pages to the Battle of Valcour Island in October 1776 and campaign leading up to it, the first 150 pages provide an overview of Ticonderoga and Arnold's Expedition against Quebec.

    Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775 by Thomas Desjardin. To my knowledge, this is the most detailed account of the campaign.

    The Battle of Brooklyn 1776 by John J. Gallagher - While Schechter's book is a great overview of the entire New York campaign, Gallagher focuses on Brooklyn and provides more detail.

    The Long Retreat: The Calamitous American Defense of New Jersey 1776 by Arthur Lefkowitz. Again, Schechter provides a good overview of the retreat, but Lefkowitz details the disaster at Fort Washington and the retreat from Northern New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

    The Winter Soldiers: The Battles for Trenton and Princeton by Richard M. Ketchum. Believe this is still the definitive account.

    Battle of Paoli by Thomas McGuire - McGuire covers the battle in his two volume study of the Philadelphia Campaign (which I highly recommend), but the battle receives full length treatment in this book.

    Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley: The St. Leger Expedition of 1777 by Gavin K. Watt. An excellent study from the British/Tory perspective.

    Saratoga by Ketcham - The definitive study for quite some time, but I agree with Eric that Lazuder's recent study challenges that status.

    Year of the Hangman by Glenn F. Williams - details Iroquois attacks in Pennsylvania and New York and Sullivan's punitive expedition.

    Carleton's Raid by Paul and Ida Washington - A very well-done micro-history detailing Carleton's raid from Canada into Vermont. A must for anyone interested in the warfare that occurred in the frontier between Canada and the colonies.

    The Penobscot Expedition: Commodore Saltonstall and the Massachusetts Conspiracy of 1779 by George E. Buker. To my knowledge, the only study of the disastrous 1779 naval expedition to Maine.

    The Forgotten Victory: The Battle for New Jersey-1780 by Thomas Fleming. One of the very few books on Washington's maneuvers around New York following Monmouth. Includes Springfield and Connecticut Farms.

    The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas by John Buchanan. There are a number of overviews of the southern campaign, but in my opinion, this is the best.

    A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 by Carl P. Borick - A very detailed study of the second, successful campaign against Charleston.

    A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens by Lawrence E. Babits - The definitive study of the battle.

    The Guns of Independence: The Siege of Yorktown, 1781 by Jerome A. Greene (Savas Beatie) - an excellent nuts and bolts description of the siege with excellent maps.

    While not a military study, per se, I have to add Tories, Dons & Rebels by J. Barton Starr and which covers a truly overlooked area of the Revolution - The Spanish campaign against West Florida. Starr's book describes Bernardo de Galvez's capture of Mobile and Pensacola. Florida in the American Revolution by L. Leitch Wright is also a good source, covering not only de Galvez's campaign, but also the border warfare in East Florida.

    Hope this helps!

  5. Patriot

    Patriot New Member

    Eric, Chris & Baltis,

    Appreciate the suggestions!

    Mike Peters
  6. CrescentCorps

    CrescentCorps New Member

    I just received an excellent little book entitled The Southern Strategy: Britain's conquest of South Carolina and Georgia, 1775-1780 by David K. Wilson. It is an excellent summary history of military events in the South from the Battle of Great Bridge in 1775 to the Battle of Waxhaws in 1780, and I would recommend it as a companion to The Road to Guiliford Courthouse by John Buchanan. The book has chapters on Great Bridge, Moore's Creek, First Charleston (1776), First Savannah (1778), Briar Creek, Second Charleston (1779), Stono Ferry, Second Savannah (1779), Third Charleston (1780) and Waxhaws. Most of the chapters have orders of battle and battle maps.
  7. The General

    The General New Member

    I read that book a couple of weeks ago as part of my background work on the Battle of Camden. You're right--it's an excellent overview of the British southern strategy and how it played out. Don't look for a great deal of depth in it, but it makes for an excellent overview.

  8. CrescentCorps

    CrescentCorps New Member


    Not sure if you have had a chance to read them, but Patrick O'Kelley's four volume set on the Revolution in the Carolinas, Georgia and East Florida is a pretty handy reference documenting just about every battle in the theatre in chronological order.

  9. Baltis Getzendanner

    Baltis Getzendanner New Member

    I really enjoy O'Kelley's work. When did volume 4 come out? I am going to have to check out Amazon to see why I don't have it. I just finished The King's Ranger by Cashin. He credits the Southern Strategy to Thomas Brown. I think he may be a bit soft on Burntfoot Brown but still a very interesting book. Particular insight into the GA portion of the war which was, in my opinion, the nastiest part of all. Particularly in the ceded lands of '73.
  10. Baltis Getzendanner

    Baltis Getzendanner New Member

    I haven't read the Southern Strategy yet but have it in my que. What did Wilson say about Thomas Brown having helped develop the Southern Strategy? Also, Cashin indicated that John Stuart didn't approve of setting Indian allies against the colonists and purposefully delayed implementing Indian attacks. Anything in Wilson's book about Stuart's role?
  11. CrescentCorps

    CrescentCorps New Member


    Volume Four came out in 2005 and covers 1782. The battle summaries are approximately 100 pages, and the rest of the book contains appendices.


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